It was supposed to be a blockbuster day for the Nasdaq following yesterday's blowout earnings from Amazon, and solid results from Intel and Microsoft. The anticipation of a surge in the tech index was so great it prompted Gartman to quickly close out his Nasdaq short and... the Nasdaq went nowhere all day!
Even Amazon's surge, which at one point hit an all time high of $1,638, or up nearly $120, faded most of the move, and at last check was up only $50, having wiped out more than half of its record gains.
Call it deja vu all over again: the pattern that we had seen for much of earnings season was again in force, as after reporting strong outstanding results, all the tech giants had a tough time holding on to all their gains. At its high of the day, the S&P 500 Information Technology Sector was up 1 percent, but by midday it dropped into the red. It’s a pattern that’s plagued this earnings season: Even though companies are beating earnings predictions at the fastest rate ever, stocks have remained relatively flat since JPMorgan kicked off reports.
It wasn't just tech with the notable moves however, as two two biggest U.S. oil explorers also reported earnings, which were a study in contrasts: Chevron beat every analyst estimate, while larger rival Exxon Mobil Corp. fell short on both production and profit. As Bloomberg summarized this divergence, for Chevron, it was about rewarding long-suffering investors who had funded costly natural gas projects in Australia for more than a decade. For Exxon, Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods is tasked with rebuilding an asset base that analysts say didn’t receive enough investment over the past 10 years.
And here a stunning statistic from Bloomberg: Exxon Mobil has lost $47 billion in market value in the past 12 weeks, or about the size of one Halliburton
Meanwhile, in other asset classes, moves were bizarre too, with yields on 10-year Treasuries dropping...
... even as the curve resumed its bull flattening. Treasuries advanced Friday led by long end, erasing early losses triggered by strong 1Q GDP and employment cost index; yields and curve spreads moved to session lows as USD/JPY dropped below 109 for first time in a year, and as sharp reversal in technology and energy sectors capped gains for U.S. stocks.
Indeed, despite today's GDP beat and stronger Employment Cost Index, the dollar initially ramped higher, only to slump to session lows.
There were two prevailing explanations for today's lack of enthusiasm: either investors were debating whether corporate earnings are strong enough to offset signs the economy may be cooling, or today's economic data was strong enough to assure another imminent rate hike, further flattening the yield curve and leading to a policy error.
All perfectly contradictory, of course.
Elsewhere, the U.K. posted the worst quarterly GDP figures since 2012...
... and the pound plunged.
Lackluster numbers also came out of France and Spain, however they were not lacking enough luster to push the euro lower!
The comatose session extended to crude oil which was drawn to the $68-a-barrel level as a geopolitical risk premium in the market limited losses.
And the worst news: after all of that, the S&P closed unchanged on the week.